One Drink DUI? Feds Want Lower Threshold for Drunk Driving

Photo Credit: APA federal agency is proposing that states lower the threshold for drunken driving to the point where a woman could be charged for driving after one drink and a man after two in a move officials say would save thousands of lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states drop the blood-alcohol level at which motorists can be charged with driving drunk to .05, down from the current rate of .08 that all 50 states impose. The threshold is a matter of state law, but the federal government can pressure states to meet its standard by threatening to withhold highway funding.

“Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. “Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.”

More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to an NTSB report. In Europe, drunken driving deaths were cut by more than half a decade after the stricter standard was implemented.

Studies show a woman weighing less than 120 pounds can reach .05 after just one drink, while a man weighing up to 160 pounds reaches .05 after two drinks.

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